French company Millet has been working hard to reduce their ecological footprint and make outdoor gear that is produced more sustainably. Last summer, Millet announced their partnership with Rhodia to recycle old climbing rope. Now, Millet has taken their popular Triaxiale climbing rope series and reduced energy consumption, packaging and used fewer chemicals during production of the new Low Impact Triaxiale.
The sheath of a climbing rope is the protective braided cover of the rope. It keeps the core from getting dirty or cut and adds some strength and shock absorption. In the sheath of the Low Impact Triaxiale, two-thirds of the threads do not undergo coloring. This equates to a 66% energy saving, as during the coloring and drying process, those threads spend 12 hours less at drying temperature, 100% less in transport and require less water to treat.
Millet also eliminated the hydrophobic waterproofing treatment for the climbing rope to save further energy by not polymerizing at 115 degrees. As water-resistant coatings help make the rope stronger and last longer by protecting its rebound characteristic, it will be interesting to see how much this affects the rope's lifespan. Finally, Millet eliminated almost all of the packaging, leaving only a small, recyclable sleeve that uses a one color printing process.
The thicker the sheath, the more the climbing rope resists cutting and abrasion. For this reason, Millet has extended the lifespan of the rope by 25% by using a sheath of 2 x 32 strand construction versus most single ropes that have one 48 strand sheath. The Low Impact Triaxiale includes an added middle marking safety feature as well.
The 60m rope weighs 70g and will cost you $250. A 10.2mm rope with a UIAA rating of 5 (typical of skinny singles), is not exactly your typical workhorse single rope but will probably pass as a good all arounder. There is a great post by UIAGM/IFMGA certified guide Michael Silitch over on the REI blog about how to choose a climbing rope.